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Digital Security (DiS) Research Publications

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Georgios Gousios, and Alberto Bacchelli. Work Practices and Challenges in Pull-Based Development: The Contributor`s Perspective. Technical report: ICIS-R15001, March, Radboud University Nijmegen, 2015.

The pull-based development model, which is gaining widespread popularity with open source systems, offers a novel way to contribute to projects. In this paper, we analyze how contributors experience this model investigating the motivations that drive contributors, their work practices behind the scenes, and the challenges they face. We set up an exploratory qualitative study involving a large-scale survey of more than 650 contributors and analyze it in the light of previous research on contributors` practices and the integrator`s role in the pull-based model. Our key findings indicate that motivations are similar to those in other models, but the better traceability for contributions make it more appealing to create a code portfolio, contributors have a controversial relation with awareness, and contribution challenges are mostly social in nature and are exacerbated by the high-volume, sparse, and asynchronous nature of the pull-based model. Moreover, communication within pull requests is limited to low level concerns. On these insights we provide recommendations to practitioners and discuss implications.

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